Posted 8th Sep 2015
From 10th-13th September, heritage sites across Britain are inviting you to visit and experience local history, culture and architecture. We've uncovered some of Britain's best heritage sites that you won't want to miss
Royal Holloway University of London, Egham Hill, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX
Visit the breathtaking Grade I Listed Founder's Building, priceless Picture Gallery and Chapel set in 135 acres of stunning grounds. Self-made millionaire and Victorian entrepreneur Thomas Holloway was persuaded by his wife Jane Holloway to build a college for girls which later became Royal Holloway University. After visiting America, Thomas Holloway was inspired to collect a series of paintings for the girls that would be educated at the college. Today the enviable collection is priceless and includes the infamous painting of the Princes in the Tower and the sensational Babylonian Marriage Market painting by Edwin Long. It's not be missed. Royal Holloway heritage site will be open on 13th September 2015 between 11am and 5pm. No booking is required.
Dunster Castle and Gardens
Dunster Castle and Gardens, Dunster, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 6SL
During the 16th Century, Dunster Castle was the luxurious country home of the Luttrell family who lived there for 600 years. Set on a steep hill, the ancient castle boasts spectacular views overlooking the Bristol channel, the Quantock hills and the moors of Exmoor. You won't be short of things to do. Wander round the woodland paths and admire the beautiful garden in flower. Enjoy tea or coffee and visit the shop. If you have any extra time, take a stroll through the lovely ancient village. The impressive National Trust property is set to open its doors for free on Sunday 13th September between 10am and 4pm. No booking is required.
Compton Verney Art Gallery, Compton Verney, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV35 9HZ
At Compton Verney there is something for every member of the family to enjoy. Compton Verney will be open to visitors free of charge on Thursday 10th September between 11am and 5pm. It is an impressive heritage Grade I listed mansion set in 120 acres of beautiful parkland. The award-winning art gallery has six significant collections from across the globe. One of the collections features British portraits from the Tudor period (1485-1603) and including portraits of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The two summer exhibitions, 'The Arts and Crafts House: Then and Now' and 'The Hart Silversmiths: A Living Tradition', will also be open for visitors. Additionally, the extensive grounds will be open to explore, ideal for a picnic. Alternatively there is a café and restaurant on site. Take up a free family trail or see the wild flower meadow. There is also a woodland adventure playground which is great for keeping the children entertained. No booking is required.
Elizabeth Gaskell's House
84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9LW
On Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th September, Elizabeth Gaskell's House will be offering free admission into the Grade II listed property where Elizabeth wrote many of her well-loved novels: Cranford, Ruth, North and South, Sylvia's Lovers and the unfinished Wives and Daughters. Elizabeth Gaskell's House will also be hosting a series of informal talks about the Gaskell family. Elizabeth lived at 84 Plymouth Grove with her family from 1850 until her death in 1865. In October 2014 it was opened to the public after a spectacular £2.5 million refurbishment to restore the much neglected house to the style of Gaskell's era. Walk through the main rooms of 84 Plymouth Grove as Elizabeth Gaskell once did in the 1860s. Elizabeth Gaskell fans or Victorian literature lovers will not want to miss out.
By Lily Waddell
Images courtesy of Seamus Roger, Royal Holloway image library and John Cleary